Music

Friday, September 26, 2014

Punk Lives at Palisades

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 2:30 PM

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The apocalypse feeling that comes with each fresh closing of a previously thriving Brooklyn DIY spot is tough to deny. While mourning 285 Kent, or wincing at the impending departure of Death by Audio, it can feel like the sad end of something right and just and true. But it should be clear by now that, while the desire to frequent these spaces is too small to thwart the wider economic forces that continually reshape Brooklyn, it’s impossible to fully extinguish. If it’s dark, unseasonably warm, and running 40 minutes late, it’s DIY. So it goes that Bushwick’s Palisades now nudges into contention for the current heart of Brooklyn music’s unruly fringe. Last night the frills-less black box was shoulder to metal-studded shoulder for an AdHoc presented four-band bill lacking any overexposed music media stars. The sets varied in impact and emphasis but, as a whole, the night suggested continuing life to be found in places the L train won’t take you. 

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Friday, August 29, 2014

The Summer of Sophie

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

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There’s been a distinct disappointment in 2014’s crop of would-be-BBQ jams. Folks have been tying themselves into knots for weeks attempting to refuse the inevitability of Iggy Azaelea, not to mention that odious Canadian reggae guy. This, of course, is super silly. It’s not like the failure to appoint a consensus song of the summer is a slight on par with the Nobel dudes issuing a press release that just said “Nah, bro” before fucking off some fjord for the year. But, to be super serious for a second, this whole indecisive muddle is ignoring the degree to which Sophie has been remorselessly killing it. Were the summer song landscape a game of Grand Theft Auto, he would be swarmed with little pixel cops by now. Going into this, the last weekend of summer '14, it's time to acknowledge that Sophie won it. 

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Interview: The Clean Come Back to Brooklyn!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 1:17 PM

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While the prolonged zombie state of some bands' reunions can start to bum a guy out, no one with a heart and two ears could be unhappy to see The Clean again. This week, the legendary band, instigators of Dunedin, New Zealand’s wildly influential DIY rock scene of the 1980s, play two Brooklyn shows; one tonight at Rough Trade, one at Glasslands tomorrow. The key to The Clean’s lasting appeal is the low-key nature of the endeavor. Their music is shaggy, tuneful, and endlessly charming. It lacks any delusions of grandeur that might broadcast it as Important, with a capital I. They seem to make an album when they feel the need, and tour occasionally to smaller room crowds made up of those just discovering their records, or old fans continually rediscovering just how solid their songs are. “It’s kind of a funny gradual process,” said longtime bassist Robert Scott. “We’ve been doing this stuff for ages, and you have to remember some people are actually very new. It’s a weird concept when you’ve been doing it for over half your life.”

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Live: FKA Twigs Conquers Webster Hall

Posted By on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 1:32 PM

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Tahliah Barnett, the artist currently known for being Formerly Known As Twigs, played her second ever New York City show last night to an unusually large, sold-out Webster Hall crowd, who absolutely fucking adored her. There's been a steady uptick in the London-based singer's profile since the release of her first EP in December of 2012. Next week her first full-length, the flatly titled LP1, will be released and likely greeted with the sort of ecstatic reviews any new artist would kill for. The record carries hints of arty R&B figures of the late 90s like Aaliyah or Tricky collaborator Martina Topley-Bird, though her songs carry way more emptiness than theirs ever would. Though subtle earworms are embedded throughout, the record is often content to dwell in a slow textural crawl that won't necessarily crest into a conventional moment of full tension-release. It's a hot and bothered sex album, that never really gets to the sex part, leaving the listener feeling gloriously frustrated. 

If a backlash is brewing, and one usually is, it will likely congeal around the idea that FKA Twigs songs are filled with immaculately production that she doesn't fully inhabit, too content with ethereal floating to provide a killer hook. Onstage though, commanding every eyeball in the crowd like Cleopatra's favorite court dancer, it's kind of impossible to criticize Twigs for absence. She was the show. All of it. Her charisma is magnetic, and skepticism in the face of it is tough to hold on to. Though her songs are nowhere near the precise perfection of a young Prince, and may never get to that level, it wasn't just the occasional swell of purple lights that brought him to mind. (Side note: How did Prince not settle on the pretty cool-sounding “FKA Prince” as a monicker during his unpronounceable symbol period? Rare miss, Prince.)

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tickets on Sale Now for Fool's Gold Day Off With Danny Brown, French Montana and So Many More

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 1:16 PM

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If you recall, Fool's Gold Day Off (aka the biggest party of the summer, aka your best chance of becoming BFFs with Danny Brown) returns to 50 Kent (Kent Ave. and North 12th St.) on September 1 before it spins off into a multi-city mega-tour hitting Toronto, L.A., Atlanta and Miami this fall.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Major News: "Fool's Gold Day Off" Returns to Brooklyn at 50 Kent

Posted By on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

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It's back. Since 2010, Labor Day's greatest tradition (eating potato salad in the Hamptons isn't a tradition) is dancing up a sweat at the New York installment of Fool's Gold Day Off, the all-day, feel-good, can-this-really-be-happening concert curated by its titular Brooklyn-based record label. We're psyched to welcome the party (and we do mean party) to 50 Kent (Kent Ave. and North 12 St.) on Monday, September 1 as part of the Northside Summer Concert Series.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Grimes, How to Dress Well, and the Perils of Poptimism

Posted By on Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 1:02 PM

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When Grimes’ first new song in two years hit the Internet a couple weeks ago, it was furiously marketed as a track Rihanna rejected, a PR move with obvious SEO appeal and rank cynicism. For Grimes's Claire Boucher, it seemed unintentionally self-depricating. Somehow, trying and failing to produce a suitable pop hit for an established star was some new form of underground credibility? Such is the odd moment we’re in, where the sounds of chart pop have so thoroughly bled into what’s considered cutting edge that there’s hardly a meaningful distinction between the two. If all that meant was a surplus of A-plus pop songs, then...terrific. More often, we’re getting stuff that’s the worst of both worlds: not catchy enough to hit right away, nor interesting enough to reward extended consideration.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Live: White Lung Made a Mosh Pit of Saint Vitus

Posted By on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 12:11 PM

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Several songs into White Lung's set, a young woman in the crowd near me started throwing frantic, undirected air punches. Fists swirled up and around her in wild loops that connected occasionally, semi-randomly to surrounding arms and shoulders. Her intent was to clear a circle of space in a building mosh pit, but it didn't seem to be directed in retaliation to anyone specific, or born from real rage. A few seconds later she was calm, happy, beaming up at singer Mish Way. Way's band had filled Greenpoint metal club Saint Vitus, for a show marking the release of their widely acclaimed third album, Deep Fantasy. The record pairs its full-speed punk/metal riffs with bright, bruised vocal melody to form a bleak blur that's seriously angry in intent, but pretty fun in effect. It's the biggest sound they've managed yet, by a solid margin. The room was sold out well in advance, though not overpacked to the point of discomfort. Stalking the stage, surveying the chaos, head-banging her grunge-blonde hair, Way seemed coziest of all.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

UPDATE: War on Drugs, Woods, Julianna Barwick Playing 50 Kent Tonight, Tickets Still Available

Posted By on Sun, Jun 15, 2014 at 11:56 AM

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It was a bummer when rain came and washed away Friday night's much anticipated Northside show featuring War on Drugs, Woods, and Julianna Barwick. It was crushing, even. But now here we are two days later, and it feels very much like it was a blessing in disguise. The show has been moved to tonight, effectively making today a strong contender for Best Day Ever, as you now have the chance to spend the first half of it at McCarren Park for the free CHVRCHES show before heading over to 50 Kent for a fitting, glorious end to the weekend. Set times are the same as they were for Friday, but the gates will now open at 6pm instead of 5pm. Tickets are available here.

Set times:

The War on Drugs 8:30pm
Woods 7:30pm
Julianna Barwick 6:45pm
Gates at 6pm

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Singeth the Raven "Nevermore"

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 12:15 PM

The Raven, a new vocal work by Toshio Hosokawa, based on the Poe poem, presented by Gotham Chamber Opera
  • Jim Dine
I didn't even know there would be another piece of music. The main attraction in last night's program at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater was The Raven, a relatively short new vocal work by Toshio Hosokawa based on the Poe poem, part of the New York Philharmonic's Biennial celebration (presented by Gotham Chamber Opera). But it was overshadowed by the work that preceded it, Andre Caplet's nonvocal Conte fantastique: Le Masque de la Mort rouge, also after an Edgar Allan work.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Behind the Noose: A Q & A with The Haxan Cloak

Posted By on Fri, May 9, 2014 at 1:26 PM

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For a guy who made a concept record following a soul's escape from a post-death body falling into decay, Bobby Krlic is a pretty chipper. Excavation, the critically acclaimed album he released last year under his recording name, The Haxan Cloak, is a beautifully dark and mildly terrifying thing. It's grand sweep and gut-churning physical effect takes over any space it's played in. If pumped it into your head via earbuds, it could turn a mid-day stroll in the park into a harrowing existential search. Earlier this year, Haxan Cloak collaborated with veteran sludge-metal band, The Body, for another morose, cathartic record, I Shall Die Here. Again, hardly polite brunch music. But the way Krlic talks about his work—thoughtfully with good cheer—makes you feel like this pitch-black purging might be healthy, a doom therapy of sorts.

The Haxan Cloak make a rare New York City live appearance this weekend, at the appropriately spooky Masonic Temple in in Fort Greene. He'll support German techno artist Robert Henke, in another of Red Bull Music Academy's wild slate of May festival shows. We chatted with Krlic over Skype, as he relaxed at his parents' house in the English countryside, birds chirping audibly in the background. We talked about the terrifying noises that he's made in domestic comfort, how streaming services put his bleak music into odd context, and where The Haxan Cloak goes from here.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Art and the Academy: Red Bull Elevates the Corporate Music Festival

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2014 at 3:17 PM

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Tonight, dance crews representing four different styles and eras of club music will take over Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Bazaar, filling every corner of that big room with competing beats and the weirdly specific gyrations each might trigger. Like many dance-floor freak outs before it, this one will be fueled by Red Bull. The event, dubbed the “Bounce Ballroom” is the first of many put on this month by The Red Bull Music Academy, a high-brow combination of academic salon and experimental art fair, all funded by hyperactive teens’ and drowsy business dudes’ beverage of choice.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A (Brief) Oral History of L'Amour

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Louder Than Hell, a doorstop-sized oral history of metal music, comes out in softcover today. Authors Jon Weiderhorn and Katherine Turman both live in Brooklyn—Bay Ridge, to be exact—so we thought, what better way to celebrate the book's paperback launch than to cull all its mentions of L'Amour, the rock club that called itself "The Rock Capital of Brooklyn"? On a desolate part of 63rd Street in Bensonhurst, the legendary venue hosted everyone from Metallica to your friend's band until it shuttered 10 years ago.

SCOTT IAN (Anthrax): Metallica were the only ones there in the middle of the night at the Music Building [in Queens] in their shitty room drinking beer. [Guitarist Dave] Mustaine would get super-drunk and fuck with other people’s rehearsal rooms. A band would show up the next day and there’d be a mountain of garbage piled up in front of their door because Mustaine would go get all the garbage cans and dump them in front of the practice room door of a band he didn’t like. Of course, everybody knows who did it because Metallica was the only band there overnight. Once, Metallica was opening for the Rods and Vandenberg at L’Amour. Vandenberg is sound checking at 4pm and Dave is ripped. He’s screaming at Adrian Vandenberg, “Get the fuck off the stage. You suck.” And the other dudes in the band are trying to run and hide. Metallica didn’t even have a record out yet.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Not the Prokofiev You Thought You Knew

Posted By on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Conductor Andrew Davis, Who Lead the New York Philharmonic in Prokofievs Romeo and Juliet and Julian Andersons The Discovery of Heaven
  • Conductor Andrew Davis
Is it poor form to describe new music in images? In my defense, it was at least encouraged at the New York Philharmonic concert last night, whose centerpiece was highlights from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet ballet, with its scene- and character-specific score. So I ended up doing it at the beginning of the evening, too, during the US premiere of Julian Anderson's exhilarating and unsettling The Discovery of Heaven, based on a novel in which god gives Moses the Ten Commandments and then wants them back (!). The piece opens with something resembling the soft sounds of morning, but it's a menacing one: tittering flutes evoke scattering birds, then the strings come in on a sustained sour chord, whining like an electronic hum, like the rising of a blood moon; this unease is sustained, as though run through tensely with the radioactive breezes of nuclear fallout, till it finally reaches an angry outburst.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

How to Spend a Perfect Saturday in Brooklyn: Attend a Free Show With Thee Oh Sees at Northside Festival

Posted By on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 2:19 PM

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West Coast guitar clobberers Thee Oh Sees are headed to Northside to play their first New York show back on the road post-hiatus. (Remember? They were on hiatus for a hot minute— thank god that's over—before announcing their just-released new album, Drop.) On Saturday, June 14 the band will headline a FREE show at McCarren Park, so you'll be reminded of how fun this whole rock-music thing can actually be.

The show, like with CHVRCHES on June 15, is all-ages and will happen rain or shine. Entry is first-come, first-served with a required RSVP, so make sure you head here on Friday, April 25 when they open to the public at noon. As always, Premium and Music badge-holders are guaranteed a spot at both McCarren Park shows, so there's no need to RSVP if you purchase a badge. (Rest assured, you'll automatically have a spot at the show.) Buy badges right here. Gates for Thee Oh Sees swing wide at 1pm, with the first band (TBA) on at 2pm, so show up early and grab a front-and-center spot. Let's see if you can out-sweat frontman John Dwyer. (Our money is on Dwyer.)

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Scares, Real and Imagined: Talking with Avey Tare

Posted By on Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 10:42 AM

photos by Atiba Jefferson
  • photos by Atiba Jefferson

There are things scarier than horror movies. Sidelined for a big chunk of last year with chronic strep throat, Animal Collective’s Avey Tare began to question the longevity of his music’s signature—that always ecstatic scream. A now fit Tare (or Dave Portner to his pals) rebounded by forming Slasher Flicks, a less-dense but still loopy new psych band. The fright flick-inspired group, featuring ex-Dirty Projectors’ singer Angel Deradoorian and ex-Ponytail drummer Jeremy Hyman, will adorn the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan with copious day-glo skulls tonight, playing in support of their trippy new record, Enter the Slasher House. Its songs have wobbly edges not unlike Animal Collective, but the trio swirl them out from a pop center that's a bit neater than the recent work of Tare's more famous band. We talked with Avey about the mental impact of last year’s health struggles, why Animal Collective are more like the Grateful Dead than the Avengers, and the more subtle horror of stuff getting stuck in your head.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Northside #tbt The War On Drugs

Posted By on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Take a trip down memory lane as we check out past performances from the bands returning to this year's Northside Fest roster.

The War On Drugs have come a long way since Wagonwheel Blues, their debut album that was the first and last to include Kurt Vile. While the latter has gone on to achieve solo success, Adam Granduciel and his Drugs have found similar fortune, releasing their third album to critical and audience acclaim. With Granduciel channeling the era of Dylan our generation was denied, it's music that makes you crave a car and a smoke and a long drive.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

RSVPs for CHVRCHES Free Northside Show Are Ready to Rock

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 2:26 PM

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You're counting down the days until you get to see CHVRCHES for FREE at McCarren Park on June 15. You've got your sunblock and your umbrella (it's rain or shine!), and your Instagram all geared up. Now all you need to do is guarantee your spot. The first step is to RSVP, which you can do here. The second is to make sure you arrive early, as RSVPs are first-come, first-served. (In other words, even if you RSVP, entry to the show is not confirmed.) If you have a Music or Premium badge, though, you're all set, no RSVP required. (Sit back. Relax. We'll be saving you a spot at the show.) Grab one of those here, why don't you?

The gates open at 3pm and the music kicks off at 4pm; go get your Five Leaves on and then head to the park to not miss out on the action. We'll see you Sunday, June 15!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Music That Makes Under the Skin Go Bone Deep

Posted By on Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 12:33 PM

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There's not much Mica Levi is bad at, apparently. She composed for the London Philharmonic at age 21. Her band Micachu & The Shapes used instruments she made herself to create Jewellery, one of the 00s' best weird art-pop records. Never, their 2012 follow-up, is one of the most underrated of this decade so far. She returned to the classical world in 2011, lending a disjointed hip-hop sensibility to the London Sinfionetta chamber orchestra. Now, in her mid-20s, she's become an acclaimed film composer for scoring Under the Skin, the beautifully odd new sci-fi flick by '90s music video master turned Kubrick heir, Jonathan Glazer.

In it, Scarlett Johansson plays a seductive alien preying on the lonely young men of Scotland. With dark, baffling images and hardly any dialogue, Levi's anxious, buzzing score has to do much of the film's work to let the viewer inside a somewhat inscrutable character grappling with the onset of humanity. It's hypnotic, disorienting, and quite impressive. We talked to Levi about working on a film for the first time, her music's unique role in Under the Skin, and how hearing Dr. Dre in a strip club influenced her own soundtrack to man-eating.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Northside Sound: Titus Andronicus

Posted By on Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Northside Sound is a series on the Northside Festival blog that features material from this year's line-up of artists. Northside Fest runs from June 12 through 15 in venues throughout North Brooklyn.

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I was friends with a very eccentric dude in college who wrote a rock opera. He works on an ice cream truck now and gives me free spoonfuls when I pass him on Bedford. Long story short, it ain’t easy writing rock operas.

If there’s anyone who’s entitled to give the genre a go it’s Titus Andronicus. Not only does the band’s name suit any attempt at the theatrical, they already contain a theme album in their roster, natural steppingstone to rock opera success. Singer Patrick Sickles has proven song and again that he is a writer’s lyricist, penning choruses that seem to achieve anthem status instantly. With song structures that have the rise and fall and beer fueled redemptive qualities of any good epic, this is going to be good.

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